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Manziel shows improvement in scrimmage

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The Sports Xchange

Johnny Manziel, under a microscope during the Cleveland Browns’ training camp as he tries to prove he belongs in the NFL after last year’s missteps, appeared to make progress Friday night in a scrimmage before 50,000 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.

The second-year quarterback looked more comfortable in the pocket and completed 9-of-11 passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns while playing against backups.

Manziel connected with tight end E.J. Bibbs on a 3-yard touchdown pass and with Josh Lenz for an 18-yard score.

“I wouldn’t make a huge deal about it, but it’s progress for me,” said Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner who struggled as a rookie and then went through an offseason rehab for personal issues. “It’s better than I played last year in the scrimmage. A year later, there’s a lot of progress. I’m happy about it and happy about stringing some good days together. That’s what I wanted to do.”

Manziel, who is behind veteran Josh McCown, has impressed teammates and coaches so far in camp.

“He had a long way to go to get back into the good graces with the team, but he’s made all the right steps since he stepped back in Berea back in April, and even before that,” Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas said. “He’s really proved to a lot of people that this is important to him and he is ready to be an NFL starting quarterback.”

Browns coach Mike Pettine said, “The thing that jumps out is that he’s much less antsy in the pocket. He sets his feet, which is something you really didn’t get to see much, and he’s trusting his reads. I thought he placed the ball and thought his location and accuracy was very good tonight.”

McCown played only one series and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brian Hartline, a former Ohio State player.

Another former Buckeye, Terrelle Pryor, returned to the stadium where he played college ball for the first time since the 2011 scandal that led to sanctions against the Ohio State program.

Pryor, the former quarterback who is attempting to switch to wide receiver, sat out the scrimmage with a hamstring injury.

“We had a lot of success here,” Pryor said. “There are a lot of memories out there. I love this place.”


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